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Govt now recommends use of cloth masks in public

Vice President Slumber Tsogwane has alread started wearing a cloth mask PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
The Director of Health Services, Dr Malaki Tshipayage has said that his ministry is changing its policy on wearing of masks by general public and will start encouraging the use of cloth masks.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has been discouraging the use of masks as a preventive measure against the novel coronavirus mainly avoiding the rush to buy the medical masks and deplete the health supplies.

Yesterday World Health Organisation (WHO) released a new interim guidance and “advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19”.

WHO stated, “Decision makers may move ahead with advising the use of non-medical masks”.

Today Tshipayagae said: “Cloth masks would be recommended in public places like taxies and crowded environments”.

The government policy has all along been that, “Masks are supposed to be used by people who are sick and show symptoms, and those who are caring for people who are suspected to have the virus”.

Last month George Gao, head of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said not wearing masks to protect (oneself and others) against coronavirus is a big mistake.

“The big mistake in the US and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks. This virus is transmitted by droplets and close

contact. Droplets play a very important role –you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth. Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others,” Gao said.

Last week the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention also finally recommended the cloth masks.

 “CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission,” the statement from CDC published on April 4, 2020 read.

CDC further advised the “use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others”. 

“Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure”.




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